An analysis of data on the higher education between 1920 and 1945 shows that most women overtook men in their rates of enrolment into the institutions of higher learning and college completion. This essay analyses various ways in which this trend influenced on the current generation of female college students, factors, conditions and values that have impacted on the modern women to enroll into female colleges and other co-educational colleges. According to Solomon (2005), the rates of return of women to higher education and to colleges have risen faster than those for men.
A recent study by Brubacher and Rudy (2008) also indicated that most females in women colleges had outperformed their male counterparts in various education sectors. The study revealed that most female students are today doing as good or even better than male students. Consequently, a large gap in attaining education that used to exist between men and women has been greatly reduced. For example, in 1930, male students comprised the majority of college students (86%). However, by 1949, female students had constituted 44% of all students (Eisenmann, 2010).
Additionally, women are also more likely to persist at college and to obtain their first degrees than men. This trend in college education has greatly attracted the attention of educational policymakers, college administration as well as the government.
During this period, most women had limited opportunities to obtain the higher education. According to Taylor (2011), the percentage of women enrolled for undergraduate students at public universities in 1940 constituted only forty percent. However, this was a remarkable improvement because women were not allowed to take the courses leading to bachelor’s degrees.
Various factors have contributed to the increase in women at colleges. In my opinion, the increased enrolment of women into the women’s colleges has been influenced by the variety of factors, conditions and values such as the availability of parental resources, single parenthood, increased opportunities in the job market, the changes in traditional values, beliefs and cultures and the increased government support and commitment for the female education.
Availability of Parental Resources
According to Thwing (2009), the availability of parental resources has enabled more women to register in women’s colleges, thus, attaining undergraduate degrees. Some women graduating from these colleges also go to the further studies at the graduate schools where they obtain their Master’s degrees and PhDs. In my view, the availability of parental resources such as finances and house-helps has enabled more women to seek the education, because they no longer have to be only homemakers. Solomon (2005) found out that the educational disparities in parents were also a major factor in the girl-child education. For example, parents being less educated would often prefer to educate the sons instead of their daughters. However, as the number of educated women has increased, these educational disparities between parents have decreased as well, as the educated mothers would advocate for the education of their daughters too.
Most women opted for to remain single so that they would deep their studies. This has led to the increase in the number of women enrolled at the women’s colleges. Similarly, the decrease in marriage rates also has given to women more time for further studies.
Increased Opportunities in the Labor Market
Taylor (2011) states that the increase in the employment opportunities between 1925 and 1945 was a major contributing factor for the increase in the number of women at colleges. Most women in employment and business started doing well after the economic recession. In my view, the success of women in employment and business has acted as a prime motivator for other women to seek the higher education other than the basic education. According to Brubacher and Rudy (2008), some good economic returns from education amongst women were also rising during this period. This further has motivated women to enroll into the women’s colleges.
Change in Traditions and Cultures
During the nineteenth century, most communities did not allow to undergo formal education systems. Most communities regarded women as homemakers who should remain at home and take care of children, cook for their husbands as well as to keep the general maintenance of home.However, between 1920 and 1930, the British colonies and missionaries started teaching women how to read. This resulted into the reduced illiteracy amongst women.
Setting up the Women’s Colleges by the American Government
In early 1932, the government of the United States started setting up colleges and other institutions of higher learning that mainly targeted at the girl-children and adult women (Eisenmann, 2010). In my view, this facilitated the participation of women in the education sector. Moreover, setting up the women’s colleges acted as a source of motivation for women seeking for the higher education. It also indicated the government’s commitment in providing and making the education accessible to all people regardless of one’s gender.
Present-Day Women Enrolment in Co-educational Colleges
The present-day woman is also encouraged to enroll into colleges so that she may increase her chances of getting better jobs in the labor market. Moreover, to late marriages and the increased number of single mothers, most women tend to seek the further education so that they may become more economically stable and, thus, to be able to support their families. The success stories of fellow women like Oprah Winfrey and the First Lady Michele Obama also acted as the motivating factors for women to seek the higher education.
As an employer, one of the advantages I would see in female college graduates is their high commitment and loyalty to employees. A research by Brubacher and Rudy (2008) has found out that women are the most loyal employees. On the other hand, women graduates would not be able to perform some highly physical duties such as mechanics, building and construction and welding. This renders them less favorable in such fields as civil and mechanical engineering.
Change in Personal Perceptions
In my opinion, my perception about my own prospects for academic and professional advancement has changed after researching on how the enrolment of women into colleges and institutions of higher learning has increased in some time. I now believe that the future will be more prosperous and full of more educational opportunities.
Although I don’t know anyone teaching between 1920 and 1945, some of the major disadvantages of teaching during this time included the lack of adequate educational resources, some gender disparities amongst college students and the strong cultural beliefs that discouraged female teachers from realizing their full potentials.
In my view, as a future educator, I feel that my opportunities would be increased if I get a better education surpassing that of my male counterparts. Through obtaining the higher education, I would be able to compete effectively with other men in various employment opportunities, the state governance and other sectors of the economy.
In order to further my career, I would like to work hard at college so that I may succeed in my studies. I would also like to carry out various researches in the educational field that would help in enhancing the educational opportunities amongst women. This would also entail organizing and/or attending various seminars and conferences where I would interact with other educational stakeholders.